Ronda Rousey isn't a box office knockout for UFC 157 tickets
While Ronda Rousey was the most talked about new star in mixed martial arts in 2012, it was considered a major risk when it was announced she would have her first match in the UFC as a pay-per-view headliner.
While major women's matches have done well as far as television ratings are concerned, only one MMA fight, the 2009 battle with Gina Carano vs. Cris "Cyborg" Santos, was a big ticket seller in a major arena as the main event. And no women's fight had been on, let alone headlined, a successful MMA pay-per-view show.
Furthering the risk is that Rousey's first opponent in defense of her UFC women's bantamweight title, essentially the former Strikeforce title belt being brought over, Liz Carmouche (7-2), was a name only known to hardcore MMA fans.
The location, the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., was also a risk. While Rousey is from Southern California, the Los Angeles/Anaheim market has never been an easy one after the immediate sellout of the company's debut show there in 2006. Generally speaking, the more a city is run, outside of Las Vegas which is a strong casino market, the harder it is to sell tickets.
While the 2010 Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez heavyweight title fight at the Honda Center got off to a strong start even that wasn't an instant sellout. But most shows at the Honda Center or Staples Center in Los Angeles have in recent years done more in the range of 6,000 to 7,000 tickets over he first week of sales.
With tickets having gone on sale the week before Christmas, less than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the Feb. 23 date and the ticket gross is in the $600,000 range. That's slightly less tickets, and slightly more dollars, than the company's previous major event in the market, the Aug. 4 FOX show, headlined by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Brandon Vera, at the same point in time.